As the UK has been coping with wild fires, heat strokes and transport disruption this week as a result of the hottest days ever recorded, the link to the Climate Crisis is at last being acknowledged over 30 years on from scientists’ early warnings. The need for us to take action on the climate must surely be on everyone’s minds.
The 18 #LitterCUBES contained a collective energy value of over 250 litres of oil, and this was the starting point for impassioned presentations from Julien Moreau and Andy MacVicar from Plastic Recycling Projects in the Highlands, both highlighting the need to reduce the vast quantities of waste plastic we are generating and exporting across the world. They argued for working together to recycle our plastic in a decentralised way, close to the source (towns /beaches) to make products needed locally, which would in turn save energy and generate jobs.
On World Environment Day in June, (another very hot day) 40 people came together at my LOST exhibition at Eden Court, Inverness to see evidence of Plastic Waste (in this case marine Plastic Litter), one factor contributing to the #ClimateCrisis.
Event participants came up with masses of ideas for items which could be made out of recycled waste plastic including building materials, benches, planters, play equipment, seats, agricultural/garden materials and equipment and which in turn would contribute to creating a Highland Circular Economy.
Our final talk was by scientist John McIntyre, who gave a hard-hitting global overview on our Climate Crisis and the link to our energy consumption urging us to do less and use less! This proved a great starter to our brainstorming session. Event participants and visitors to the exhibition shared the Climate Actions they are taking and intend to take, the most common being recycling, using shared transport, growing food, buying more carefully e.g. second hand, recycled and locally produced goods.
A plea for more opportunities to share information about energy use and sustainable environment options was repeated and calls for each of us to tackle companies/governments and protest!
Our Ocean Plastic Skipping ropes on display,collaboratively made by Plastic@Bay, GreenHive and myself, ticked many of these boxes and proved a good example of the process of recycling plastics and a great break out opportunity for the afternoon and at the following World Ocean Day Events which took place on the Cromarty and Poolewe shorelines. During the events over 3,000 jumps were made – proving the draw that simple #Greenfitness activities can have and the fun that can be had without expending fossil fuels! read more
The MAKE – World Ocean Day events proved a great success with enthusiasm from the local Cromarty and Poolewe communities, including the Primary schools. The workshops were run by myself and Fiona McKenzie (Aberdeen Science Centre ) and began with thinking about the importance of the Oceans and reasons for looking after ocean environments and how Bio-plastics might help reduce the problem of Marine Plastic Litter.
Our central activity was a BIG SEAWEED EXPERIMENT with over 40 people joining in to mix and cook various types of seaweeds, setting agents (starch), plasticiser (glycerine/honey), and fibres such as wool, grasses, straw and linen to make a fascinating array of bio-plastic samples (results to follow on Instagram).
It was an extremely ambitious event, very messy and at times wet and cold, but it was great fun with observational seaweed activities – using microscopes and chrome books in the tent-labs
Head teacher Natalie White said that the “M A K E workshop was a really great piece of partnership work. The children really enjoyed experimenting making seaweed plastic and were inspired to make a brilliant video about the workshop.”
I feel the LOST #ClimateAction project is keeping the #COP26 #ClimateCrisis story moving forward here in the Highlands. In total over 300 people visited the exhibition and nearly 100 attended the LOST events, many of whom left positive responses for Art as a way of encouraging Activism.
Many new connections have been made and ideas set in motion for follow up events both here and further afield. Please get in touch if you know of any venues and funding that would help me tour the work.
Thanks to colleagues and friends for their support and to The Pebble Trust, Eden Court and Creative Carbon Scotland for funding, venue and organisational help that enabled the project to succeed.
The LOST exhibition artworks were made with the kind support of individuals through Crowd Funding, Project donations from Trusts: Schiehallion Group, Rag, JA Clerk, Ullapool Harbour Trust, Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape Partnership, North Light Arts, Easthaven Together. Company donations: Eyemouth Marine, Neighbourly TK Max, John Lawrie Group. In-Kind donations: Dunbar Harbour Trust, Ullapool Harbour Trust, Eyemouth Harbour Trust, Eyemouth Hippodrome, SPLASH, Shetland Marine College, JJ Jamieson, Shetland Museum & Archives, The Swan Trust, An Talla Solais, North Link Ferries. Grants: Arts & Business Grant (Shetland), Shetland Council.